During a speech Thursday about the lagging local economy and what he hoped to do to fix it, Toledo mayoral candidate Carty Finkbeiner began with some grim words.
"Ohio's long and relentless dive to the bottom is nearly complete," Mr. Finkbeiner said. "The Buckeye State, once boasting it was 'The heart of it all,' is poised to claim its economy is the worst of the 50 states. Between the years 2000 and 2004, Ohio ranked 49th of the 50 states in job creation."
But there was one problem with the speech that transcended its message: The jump-start sentences weren't Mr. Finkbeiner's.
They were the first words of an Aug. 15, 2004, article written by Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Brent Larkin, entitled "Ohio is losing its mind[s]."
"Ohio's long and relentless dive to the bottom is nearly complete. The state that once boasted that it was 'The heart of it all' is poised to claim its economy is the worst of them all," the article began, stating several sentences later that "Ohio ranked 49th of the 50 states in job creation."
Mr. Finkbeiner did not say during his speech that he was quoting a Cleveland Plain Dealer article.
When asked yesterday about his failure to attribute the kick-off of his speech, Mr. Finkbeiner said he had no excuse.
"It was completely my error, I made the mistake all on my own, and I accept full responsibility," he said. "The Plain Dealer reported the facts, and I should have attributed them."
Mr. Finkbeiner said that while constructing his speech, he had taken out a pile of clipped material and was sorting through it, poring over it.
"I just put it in and didn't attribute it," he said. "It was a mistake, I have no excuse, and will work very hard to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
Mr. Finkbeiner's opponents were quick to criticize the decision.
"We've been in the race for two weeks, and this is the third time he's made comments he's either had to retract or be an embarrassment," Democrat challenger Keith Wilkowski said. "I think it is a serious matter. My college-age kids would have significant problems in classes if they were using the words of others and not attributing it."
Republican challenger Rob Ludeman called the decision irresponsible.
"I was taught in school that plagiarism is wrong and punishable. You need to quote your source and everything else. It's hard for me to believe," he said. "Third week of the campaign and Carty's doing it again."
Incumbent Mayor Jack Ford called the decision typical of Mr. Finkbeiner.
"For the second time in one week, Mr. Finkbeiner has either made a foolish remark or, in this case, used an unattributed direct quote," Mr. Ford said. "This is characteristic of his conduct as mayor. It typifies the erratic behavior that Toledoans have witnessed time and time again from Carty Finkbeiner."
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